Your questions on Within our Grasp answered by Common Weal’s Robin McAlpine

Are there many options for the path to independence?

Yes – and no. In the end, the aim will be to achieve a formal agreement with rUK because that opens up international recognition and frankly we'll still be living on an island together so we need to. But the assumption that the only possible way to get that agreement is through a Section 30 order process isn't quite right. That would definitely be the best option but at the far end, Scotland could try and make a unilateral declaration of independence with the aim of forcing rUK to the negotiating table. The destination is the same – full and unrestricted autonomy at home, an agreement with the UK and membership of the UN but there could be different routes there.

READ MORE: Common Weal report offers solutions to indyref2 stalemate

The only option which is entirely false is the idea that it could be pursued as a legal case because that's not right. I also don't think another big election mandate is going to make much difference, essential as a pro-independence majority is.

But what do we do if the UK won't negotiate an agreement?

The UK has never given up territory happily and willingly and we shouldn't assume it will. In politics there is a fairly solid rule that given any two options a politician will select the one that he or she perceives as causing them less political pain. This is the basis of the entire lobbying industry – you have to make what you want to happen as pain-free as possible and make the other options sound as painful as possible. Unless the UK Government comes under strong and growing pressure in Scotland which interferes with their ability to do their own job they have no incentive to do anything except ignore us. We need a campaign of “maximum pressure” if we want concessions. Frankly, we need to make Scotland look as if it is basically ungovernable from Westminster.

The National:

What does “maximum pressure” mean?

I've been surprised by the response of the independence movement when people have mentioned civil disobedience. Some people have become alarmed that this is a dangerous move, but from Mary Barbour's rent strikes and the suffragettes to the civil rights movement in the US and the anti-apartheid campaign, big power is seldom beaten by playing by its rules. But there is an awful lot we need to do first before we get there and we must “earn” each escalation by exhausting our options at each level before moving to the next. We start with protest and mockery and non-cooperation and then we move to direct action and obstructionism and only then do we start to consider civil disobedience. Remember, a non-violent sit-down protest is illegal making it an act of civil disobedience. But this is a game of perceptions and must be managed very carefully – if we lose the support of the public, we lose.

So what is our biggest challenge?

That's easy – it's support. The biggest mistake the independence movement has made in my opinion is to believe that winning over the support of the public is something that can or should wait until there is a referendum campaign. There is no viewpoint that has done us more harm and we've spent five years talking about referendums completely at the expense of making a proper case for independence. Everything – literally everything – will hit a brick wall if our opponents can say “but yours is a minority view, you don't have public support”.

If you could see the public attitude research work on how low is the public awareness of what is the actual case for independence, you'd be as concerned as me – the only word they hear is “referendum”. Until we start talking to and converting winnable voters by explaining why they should support independence, we'll be fighting with a hand tied behind our back. I must admit I still get surprised that I have to make this argument since it seems obvious to me – we need to campaign for independence.

The National:

How do we do that when most of the media is against us?

We obsess over the media and we shouldn't. Campaigning is a massive global industry (from political and social campaigns to marketing and advertising) and there is an enormous and constantly evolving body of best practice on how to influence people's opinions. At the moment everyone who's winning is using routes of communication which are not primarily the media. You probably best know of this as “viral marketing” but Donald Trump hasn't held a press conference for six months and Boris Johnson won't put anyone up for interview on the Today programme. You don't have to like those campaigns – I could give you a dozen other examples. By far our strongest asset is a very large support base and modern campaign theory has become very effective at activating this base through what are known as “peer shifting” approaches.

The report explains this in a lot more detail and it is precisely what Voices for Scotland was set up to deliver and I very much hope that now the “mandate and Section 30 order” route appears closed it means people will throw their support behind Voices.